The Moon Rises
"And what is it that you are here for today, citizen?"
In the royal day courtroom there stood many ponies of all shapes and sizes, ranging from bulky earth ponies to slight pegasi to frail Unicorns all the way to the giant mixture of the previous three races, an Alicorn. Celestia sat on top of a regal and rich purple pillow on the side of the court away from the large doors that gave entrance to it. Next to her stood the green coated day captain, his posture rigid and his face plastered with a seemingly permanent smirk. On the other side of Celestia was her technically former student Starswirl who now spent his days acting mainly as her adviser and her chief spell maker. The rest of the courtroom was filled with various ponies who stood in various positions, some off to the side to observe while others formed a long line that reached the back of the giant and overly spacious room.
Having been through the first two sets of requests and disputes of the day Celestia felt both fully awake and a little bored. She knew it was her duty to meet with her subjects but their problems were growing more and more petty it seemed to her, not to mention the repetition of said issues. Land this, taxes that...but as the princess residing over day time she was obligated to do this. It wasn't always bad though. Sometimes she was able to dissolve issues in the role of arbiter, sometimes she was able to grant mercy on the unlucky, and other times give charity to the needy.
"Princess, this ruffian thinks that he can take my land-"
This was not turning out to be one of those days to Celestia's chagrin.
Celestia rolled her eyes and scoffed quietly to herself, "Oh great, another land dispute. Three for three...is this all anypony comes here for?" The captain and Starswirl both chuckled lightly at the statement but fell silent when she shot each of them a look.
The pony standing before Celestia and wishing for her attention in her land matter tilted her head in confusion, not having heard all of what Celestia said, "I'm sorry, what was that Princess?"
The princess of Equestria turned back to the subject she was supposed to be attending to, "Disregard whatever you may have heard. Now," clearing her throat, Celestia went back into her royal Canterlot voice, "explain your situation and why you bring it before me this day."
The mare recoiled slightly to the loud voice but otherwise shrugged it off while she complained, "You see, this stallion," she pointed her hoof to a unicorn standing next to her as she whined, "just thinks that because my family's land had been abandoned during Discord's terrible rule that he could go and claim it for his own self."
Celestia turned from the mare to the stallion and pointed a white hoof at him, "Is this true, young stallion?"
The brown coated stallion quivered where he stood, legs almost buckling as the royal hoof pointed straight in his direction, "W-why yes, it is, but my family has nowhere else to live while this lady has land all over the known bounds of Equestria. We need it, but she does not-"
The mare beside him scowled and pointed her own hoof at him, anger dripping from her voice, "Stealing is still stealing!"
Celestia lowered her hoof and nodded, voice still loud and intimidating, "I apologize sir, but this lady is correct. Stealing is not to be tolerated, and so the land rights go to her and her family," his shoulders sunk and his face could barely hold back tears as he looked to the floor right in front of him. Still using the royal Canterlot voice, Celestia did her best to console him, "Do not fret though, there is plenty of unsettled land in this nation where you may reside and call home," the two ponies stood up to leave as their matter was resolved, heading to the exit as two other ponies stepped forward, "Next."
In the very back of the room and unnoticed by the crowd in front of her, Luna frowned at the display she saw. The sight of the sad pony who walked past her through the doors and the haughty mare beside him irked the princess as she muttered to nopony in particular, "Who claimed the land first? The mare's family? They would have likely just been claiming domain over not-possessed land, land that they abandoned understandably because of Discord," Luna frowned as she continued in a disgruntled voice, "But it has been years since then and only now do they wish to take it back? The stallion did just as the mare's family did, claiming land that has no current owner. The land should go to those who need it, not those who had their egos hurt by having a less fortunate pony touch their precious land."
The next pony to step forward and bow before Celestia had an angry looking mare behind him, something that tipped Celestia off to what this might be about...again...before he even finished his first sentence, "Your majesty, I am here here to-"
Celestia once more cast a hoof towards a pony as she asked a question in her loud voice, "Is this another request regarding land, citizen?"
"Y-yes?" he replied meekly.
After a brief groan the princess shook her head, lowered her raised hoof and placed her previously lowered one on her temple, "For the love of..." her voice trailed off and she gathered her thoughts, everpony in the room silent for the oncoming cringe-worthy voice. True to habit, Celestia lifted her hoof high into the air as she loudly proclaimed, "I decree that there shall be no more issues of land seen today, so anypony who has come here for such a reason had best come back tomorrow."
The stallion and mare both turned to leave, both upset about not having their issue resolved, and many ponies from line began to do the same. Almost none noticed the blue princess in the back of the room as they left in various states of disgruntled attitude. Now that she wouldn't have to deal with the same problem over and over that day, Celestia let out a sigh of relief before announcing, "Next!"
The next pony to step forward was a familiar sight for Celestia, a white coated pony who attended more of her breakfasts than she did. Blueblood stood with a posture only matched by the self important day captain, a posture that only disappeared when he bowed before his beloved leader, "Your majesty, I am here on a more important matter than somepony infringing on my land rights. May I have permission to speak?"
Celestia chuckled at his formal manner and bid him to rise with a hoof, "You may proceed, Blueblood."
He resumed his upright and uptight way of standing and bowed his head this time around, "Thank you your majesty. I am here to discuss the matter of debt collection between the nation and some members of its populace. Taxes have been levied but not everypony has paid them as of this date, months after the mentioned levy and it is in my understanding that in reconstruction times such as this we need everypony doing their part."
The sun princess rose an eyebrow, not sure where he was going with this, "Yes, and what is it that you are here about? We are currently handling the issue you mention."
The nobleman rose his head to a normal position before continuing and responding both, "Well your highness, a study I have done with some assistance has shown that the ponies who have these problems with paying our taxes are those working in construction jobs and other day-reliant ponies," he lifted a hoof into the air as if pointing at the sky, "They are unable to work in certain conditions we have had to face in recent months, such as the heavy rain and random bouts of snow. In order to increase the time in which these ponies work and thus increase their earnings I say we should work harder on bringing the weather under our control with our pegasi so that we may go about shaping the weather to be more useful in the hours these unfortunate ponies are working."
Celestia kept quiet as she thought this over in her mind. The elements of nature were in fact impacting the reconstruction progress, but not at a rate she had deemed bad enough to warrant action. The way winter seemed not to wrap itself up without her express attention with intense sun rays was something that worried her, but again she had seen no immediate reason to change anything. But Blueblood rose an interesting point, and the Princess was interested in looking more into the matter, "This is not unreasonable. I will speak with my other advisers considering this. Is that all, Blueblood?"
The noble shook his head and bowed again, "No your highness, I was hoping to pose one more idea."
Just as he bowed again, Celestia cocked a brow again in a questioning manner, "What is this idea, and is it related to the same matter?"
Blueblood stood upright again and smiled to his leader, "Why, yes it is dear Celestia. The matter is the same, but it is merely another suggestion and that suggestion is cutting down on the-"
Quietly cutting in, Starswirl spoke solely to Celestia and captured her attention as Blueblood went on, "Your highness, are you sure changing how our very weather system works is a good idea?"
"-time in which 'night' is and increasing the time of our beautiful day. I mean, it'-" The noble unicorn speaking to the barely listening Celestia continued.
"Starswirl, this is an issue that needs fixing and I suppose if we can help our nation's economy at the same time that we would just be killing two birds with one stone, thus requiring half the effort for two genuine problems," Celestia murmured to her pupil and adviser without turning away from Blueblood.
Still not understanding that he was barely being paid attention to by his target audience, Celestia, Blueblood continued to speak his plan about cutting down on nighttime, "-s not as if the night is worth anything," the ponies in the back of the room began to murmur about this notion, thinking it odd but not many objecting outright to it, "What purpose does it serve but to hinder everypony? It makes it harder to see, to accomplish tasks and carry out our duties. It obscures the beauty to be found on our brilliant and sprawling lands-"
The one pony near Celestia who had caught sight of Luna lingering in the back of the room was the day guard, and he could tell that a storm would be brewing if he did not nip this issue in the bud. The green coated captain cleared his throat and addressed Blueblood, the throat clearing having drawn the noble's attention, "You had best choose your words wisely and cease speaking, sir."
Blueblood tried to ignore the captain and continue on, "-not to mention that the only things gained from it are some pointless stars and a glowing orb. What need of night is there when we can sleep during day hours as well? If there was only daylight we could-"
The day captain stomped a hoof and caught the attention of everypony in the room, his nasal voice also increasing in volume as he addressed the currently tactless nobleman, "I said you had best be quiet, Blueblood. This is an inappropriate subject and it should not be discussed," the captain eyed Luna in the back of the room, curious as to her feelings about this. To her credit she remained stoic and did not move, intent more on listening to Blueblood's opinions than outright squashing them. The captain did not want to give her any reason to make a scene though, something that might require a lot of paperwork on his part if things were broken by whatever lightning bolts the princess of the night might summon.
Completely unabashed, Blueblood scoffed as he turned to face the captain with his own , "Why should I stop? I am merely speaking the truth from a logical standpoint."
To this the captain narrowed his eyes, his voice threatening, "You had best leave before more ponies begin to agree with you, nobleman."
Blueblood stood with his mouth agape, partially stunned by the turn of events, "I do not think that-"
The captain stomped his hoof again and projected his voice loudly to the crowd in the room, "Today's court session is over! Everypony will depart from the palace immediately or you will be removed, there are no exceptions!"
The crowd obviously did not take well to this, the remaining few who had not been culled by the call about land disputes now being ordered to leave as well, "You can't just-" "We waited forever-" "This is an outrage-"
"You will depart immediately!" The green unicorn announced again, the princesses both silent and unmoving as he ordered their subjects' departure. Celestia had only half heard the insults and had been paying mind more to Starswirl but she trusted her captain in his decision to evict them, for whatever had been said must have been quite bad to warrant his reaction. Luna on the other hand was thinking about what had been said already more so than she was thinking about what was happening at that moment, her feelings slightly hurt but her mind trying to wrap around the allegations raised against her beautiful night.
Turning towards Celestia as the crowd began to dissipate and leave, the day captain nodded his head towards the royal guards stationed silently within the room, "We will ensure that all unwanted presences have vacated the premises, your majesty."
Celestia nodded to him wordlessly, still a bit stunned by how her court had gone to Tartarus so quickly. She was not angry over the turn of events per say, for she knew that not every day in court was to go as planned, but Celestia still was not used to this kind of thing. Usually if something happened she was a part of it, such as barking down at a rebellious and defiant pony to forsake their attitude or her being the one to stomp her hoof to gather the attention of two quarreling ponies.
Everypony had left the court room as ordered, even Starswirl due to the awkward feeling in the air he felt as the two sisters convened while in their contemplative mindsets. Luna now stood in front of Celestia, a neutral expression on her face as Blueblood's remarks rattled around in her mind. Celestia was the first to speak, ignoring the fact that Luna was awake at an odd hour to focus on what she may have heard, "Luna, forgive me for letting that outburst occur. I should have silenced-"
Luna shook off her previous countenance and replaced it with a bright one, smiling to Celestia as she came to a conclusion, "I am fine sister. For everypony in existence there will be a neighsayer, so who am I to complain about one or two ponies who dislike me? Especially when I have your respect and that of many others?"
Celestia opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out at first, her mind not sure exactly how to respond. Noticing after a moment the happy look on Luna's face, Celestia realized that her sister must not be upset at the recent events and so Celestia decided to move past the issue, "I am glad you are taking this in stride Luna, and you're right. Why even I have some who aren't exactly fond of me. Not that I am too fond of them either...," Celestia chuckled in a light manner before she continued," I find it hard to love and tolerate all these bickering ponies despite my best efforts."
The night princess tilted her head in confusion as she thought about her sister's words and what they meant, "How is it that so many ponies cannot settle their disputes? This foalish display is not befit of grown adults."
Celestia beamed at her sibling, her face both all-knowing and barely repressing another chuckle, "Well Luna, not everypony has the gift of living as long as we do. Their time to learn the lessons of civility and respect is much shorter than the time you and I have."
Luna now bore a small scowl as she decided to sit down before her sister, both front and back legs lowered to the ground, "But such insolence and intolerance should not be acceptable in the everyday pony. Is there nothing we can do to stem this tide of indecent attitude?"
The sister who harnessed the sun as if it were an extension of her own being shook her head sadly, but still a laugh threatened to break through her calm demeanor because of Luna's naive nature, "I am afraid not, sister, beyond setting a good example for our little ponies. We are still within a generation of the Discord years and there is much of that era lingering in this one. What would you have me decree, that everpony learn the value of friendship?" At this, Celestia did let out a small chuckle.
Not understanding how such an order could be a bad thing, Luna rose a brow in confusion, "And why not? What would be so wrong with such a notion?"
Celestia's voice became that of a wise mother explaining something to a small child, a type of voice she had used many times in the past for her younger sister, "Luna, nopony wants to be told how to be friends and who to be friends with. Could you imagine years, decades even, of rivalries and family feuds actually being changed for the better? I would rather exert energies towards the rebuilding than towards giving our subjects more reasons to in-fight and bicker, not to mention cause dissent."
Luna waved a hoof in the air as she responded with a question, "If one does not try to settle one's differences in a civil manner how can anypony expect to improve society as a whole? Such a thing will not happen if the bickering continues unchecked."
Nodding to Luna, Celestia responded with a reassuring smile, "I do agree Luna, but this will fade with time, I promise. We will simply have to weather the feuds for now."
Not feeling satisfied with this idea of passiveness and apathy caused Luna to retort, "One should not give in to the disputes of the past and accept them as a never changing force, right Celestia? Ponies should move on and accept one another for who each other are."
Celestia could not help but form a mocking grin on her mouth, the concept her sister had both ridiculous and impractical, "So, you think a friendship academy is in order? What would everypony do? Write friendship reports to their teachers about what they have learned?"
Luna nodded and affirmed with a serious tone, "Of course sister, friendship is magic and definitely should be more commonplace," with a slight blush the younger princess cast her gaze aside as a thought came to mind about her current count of friends, "I would not mind attending such an academy myself."
The elder sister chuckled and shook her head before she trotted right over to the night princess and sat beside her. Still chuckling, Celestia received a look of confusion from her sister while the sun princess wrapped a leg around her dear sister, "Oh Luna, you really don't need to worry about this right now," Celestia pulled Luna towards her and embraced her darker coat, "As bad as they are now, our little ponies will no doubt improve in temperament in time as the era of Discord becomes just a bad memory and Equestria is more than rubble."
Luna looked down and gave a resigned sigh as she leaned on her sister's bright, shining white coat, "If you say so sister."